Submitted by Amith Chakrapani on Sun, 03/19/2023 - 13:33

Sophie Devine's early storm blows away the Gujarat Giants as RCB pick up second win of WPL 2023

19 Mar, 2023
Sophie Devine's early storm blows away the Gujarat Giants as RCB pick up second win of WPL 2023
19 Mar, 2023 By Editor

They say T20 is best defined when seen through a madman’s lens. Believe what you may but the bare minimum necessity of a T20 contest is disbelief. The day when you choose to believe that the most implausible feat will happen in the flash of an eye while you stay rooted to your seat, the shortest format of the game will accept you with arms wide open.

We have seen lighting-fast chases, commanding knocks, toppling of empires and the craziest of things happen in the shortest format of the game and yesternight witnessed another of those incredulous affairs that put belief and cynicism to the test at the same time. In a must-win match against the Gujarat Giants, the Royal Challengers Bangalore were asked to field after the former secured the spin of fortune’s wheel in their favour.

On a surface that didn’t really have much to offer for the bowlers, Gujarat Giants seemed in firm control with Sophia Dunkley starting on a seraphic note. After a good-looking 16 next to her name, Dunkley wanted to fancy her chances with the extraordinary and would eventually end up losing her wicket as Sophie Devine cleaned up her leg stump.

However, the early breakthrough didn’t really promote RCB’s cause as Sabbhineni Meghana was quick to stabilize the Indian ship and before the bowlers could get a grip on affairs, the Giants seemed to press the gas and were well on course to get the momentum rolling in their way.

Meghana and Laura Wolvaardt were in firm control as the duo added a crucial 63 runs for the second wicket before Preeti Bose would fox the Indian batter for a well-played 31. An incoming Ashleigh Gardner was not willing to relent by any means as the RCB bowlers could barely put up a fight in front of the marauding duo.

Shreyanka Patil inflicted a couple of crucial scalps that featured both Wolvaardt and Gardner to apply somewhat of brakes to the inexorable juggernaut of Gujarat Giants but Megan Schutt’s expensive final over changed the complexion of the game as the former would post 188 on the scoreboard.

Chasing a ginormous total on the scoreboard, RCB had no intentions of relenting up front as Devine meant business from the very outset while skipper Smriti Mandhana danced the perfect two to tango.

Feeding into Devine’s hitting arc, none of the Gujarat bowlers were spared by the White Fern’s wrath. Notably, not only did RCB dominate the game through Devine’s terrific ball striking, but a fantastic hand from Mandhana, who registered her best score in WPL 2023, saw the openers ruling the roost with an iron fist.

After smashing 37 from 31 balls and being a crucial part of that opening partnership of 125 runs, Mandhana fell to her counterpart, Sneh Rana. Devine, however, was in no mood to stall her blitzkrieg as she continued belting fours and sixes while being joined by Ellyse Perry in the centre.

Devine would eventually miss out on her century by just a solitary run though as Kim Garth had her caught out at mid off, ending a jaw-dropping 99-run knock off 36 balls featuring 9 fours and 8 sixes at a staggering strike rate of 275, figures that would rattle all possible weathervanes caught in the ‘Devine’ storm.

With the bare minimum runs required to seal the fate of the contest, Perry and Heather Knight were watchful enough and concurrently calculative in their approach to leave their counterparts hung, drawn and quartered as the Royal Challengers Bangalore secured their second win of the season by a staggering eight wickets with 27 balls to spare.